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    Three steps to improved negotiation and sales success

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    What happens when a salesperson isn’t an effective negotiator? Often, they simply write a proposal.

    I’ve observed it happen many times. Somehow the salesperson thinks that if they put the information in writing the prospect will buy.

    The truth is that a proposal should really be a confirmation of what has already been agreed to, or has been determined that the prospect wants, needs, and is interested in buying. These factors must first be understood before creating a proposal.

    Effective Negotiations

    So how can a salesperson become an effective negotiator and understand these factors? Well, an effective negotiator is really just a skilled communicator. A salesperson must be prepared to thoroughly communicate and discuss the potential disagreeable components of the sale with a client or prospect before committing it all to writing.

    Of course, this means discussing money, the motherload of discomfort creation for a majority of salespeople. How hard is it to discuss money? Fully 60% of salespeople are not comfortable doing it. Kind of weird for people who are supposed to extract money from others for goods and services.

    Deep-Rooted Beliefs

    If we delve into this problem further, we understand that it isn’t necessarily the individual seller’s fault. It is likely either the way they were raised or is based in their past beliefs about money.

    Let me tell you what I mean. Many families believe that it is impolite to discuss money. As parents, details about earning and other money matters aren’t shared with the children. This implants the belief in them that money is not something to be talked about. So then when the grown-up salesperson is told to discuss money and budgets, it causes a conflict.

    Providing proposals too early must be discontinued

    Additionally, some people from families with limited financial resources may be impacted by that as well and bring a mentality of scarcity to their work life. They therefore may have difficulty discussing with the price tag associated with higher-priced items and may struggle getting paid for the value that is truly delivered.

    Three Things to Do:

    1. The true value to the client must be understood by salespeople
      It isn’t just about the price the client pays. It’s about the results, the outcome, the avoidance of something, or the removal of a bad situation. It is incumbent upon the manager to help salespeople REALLY understand the true value provided.

      If possible, create an ROI calculator that will help salespeople articulate and demonstrate the complete value of services to prospects. We sometimes use the following Sales hiring mistake calculator with our clients to demonstrate the impact we can have from a hiring perspective.

      It helps to conduct a team workshop session to articulate the value proposition, not from a marketing tagline perspective, but to really help salespeople internalize the value they and the company provides, and to help them develop conversation they can use to have a deeper discussion with clients and prospects. You may be interested in this Value Proposition Creation Toolkit for sales teams to help.
    2. A repeatable process where money is discussed early in the process must be followed
      Right after determining why the client is interested in talking, buying your services, or switching from their current provider, and how compelling the reason is, salespeople should be conditioned to discuss the financial impact of the client’s potential decision.

      Ideally, they should discuss it from the negative side of the equation. Salespeople need to learn and be able to discuss the cost of failure from the client’s perspective. This will have the biggest impact on salespeople gaining comfort in discussing money and will also work magic to help them close more business.
    3. Providing proposals before the opportunity is fully qualified must be discontinued
      This process needs to include gates that as the opportunity moves forward, require the salesperson to answer specific questions in order to pass through. Not until all the key questions are answered, which indicate a higher likelihood of closing the opportunity, should a salesperson be permitted to produce a proposal.

    The best way of controlling this is through a well-crafted CRM. The only system I know of that comes out of the box designed to enable salespeople to progress through a process in this way is Membrain. Learn more about it here.

    Article originally published on Dec 17, 2020 on Braveheart's blog
    Gretchen Gordon
    Published March 21, 2021
    By Gretchen Gordon

    Gretchen Gordon is the CEO of Boost Profits, a consulting firm specializing in sales team transformation. A self-proclaimed “Sales Nerd” with over 27 years of sales, sales leadership, and sales team transformation experience, she spends most of her time working directly with client companies and helping them improve their sales effectiveness and exceed their sales goals. Gretchen is also a frequent guest speaker for industry events and webcasts, and has been featured on the radio talk shows “Meet the Sales Experts” and "Sales Coaching over Coffee." She is also an accomplished writer, having been featured on industry-leading sites like and She authors a “Top 50 Sales Management Blog,” according to, and has published sales-focused eBooks, including “The 5 Essentials of Effective Sales Management” and “Cold Calling in the 21st Century.”

    Find out more about Gretchen Gordon on LinkedIn